USDA Sets Hearing Dates for Amendments to Marketing Order for California Walnuts

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will hold a public hearing on proposed amendments to the federal marketing order for walnuts grown in California on March 16, 2020, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT at the Sacramento Marriott Rancho Cordova, 11211 Point East Drive, Rancho Cordova, Calif. If necessary, the hearing will continue at 9 a.m. on March 17, 2020.

The Walnut Marketing Board, which is responsible for local administration of the order, proposed amendments that would authorize the board to provide credit for market promotion expenses paid by handlers against their annual assessments and establish rules and regulations for the board to begin exercising this new authority.

If evidence submitted at the hearing favors these proposals, and if USDA agrees the amendments would improve the order’s operation, growers that grow walnuts in the production area will vote in a referendum.

The proposal and the hearing notice were published in the Federal Register on Feb. 11, 2020.  Copies are available by contacting Melissa Schmaedick at (202) 720-2491, [email protected], or Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Rulemaking Branch, Specialty Crops Program, Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), USDA, Post Office Box 952, Moab, UT 84532. You may also contact Andrew Hatch at (202) 720-2491, [email protected], or Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Rulemaking Services Branch, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Stop 0237, Washington, DC 20250-0237.

Authorized by the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, marketing orders are industry-driven programs that help producers and handlers achieve marketing success by leveraging their own funds to design and execute programs that they would not be able to do individually. AMS provides oversight to 29 fruit, vegetable, and specialty crop marketing orders and agreements, which helps ensure fiscal accountability and program integrity.

More information about federal marketing orders is available on the AMS Marketing Orders and Agreements web page or by contacting the Marketing Order and Agreement Division at (202) 720-2491.